Dr El-Nasir M A Lalani

Founding Director

Dr El-Nasir M A Lalani is the Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Translational Medicine at CRM. He holds a cross-appointment in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine as Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pathology. 

Dr Lalani was appointed as the Founding Director of CRM in 2016. Before his current role, he was the Founding Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for eight years. Prior to joining AKU, he held academic appointments at the University of Birmingham and Imperial College, UK. 

Dr Lalani is a member and Chair of the Executive Committee of the joint AKU-UCSF stem cell and regenerative medicine Research Capacity Development Program. He is a member of: 

  • Asian and Pacific Rim Research Integrity Planning Committee 

  • Aga Khan Foundation Canada 

  • Central Asia Health Strengthening Committee 

  • International Joint Research Assessment Committee of the Programme for Cooperation in the Science and Technology between MCTES and the Ismaili Imamat

  • New York Academy of Sciences 

  • American Association for Advancement of Science 

Dr Lalani has also served as

  • Chairman Aga Khan Education, Board, UK

  • Director of Pakistan Medical Research Council

  • Co-Director Imperial College (Adult) and MRC (Foetal) Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC)  

  • Member of the Human Tissue Authority, Designated Individual, at the University of Birmingham, UK 

  • Member of the Aga Khan European Council

  • Member of West Midlands, National Research Ethics Committee

Dr Lalani is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, UK and Higher Education Academy, UK.  

Dr Lalani's work spans the fields of basic science and clinical medicine. He has published many articles, book chapters, and over 150 peer-reviewed research papers. He has contributed chapters to and is the co-editor of the book Prostate Cancer: Scientific and Clinical Aspects- Bridging the Gap; by Imperial College Press. 

Teaching and training 

  • Co-organized a short course on Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer at Imperial College, London and University of Birmingham, UK 

  • Taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Imperial College London and Birmingham University, UK 

  • Supervised more than 30 PhD and Masters students 

Research interest 

Dr Lalani's academic expertise and research interest include stem cell and cancer biology, pathology, bio-banking, and bioethics. 


  • Nazia Riaz,Romana Idress, Sadia Habib and El-Nasir Lalani. Lack of Androgen Receptor Expression Selects for Basal-Like Phenotype and Is a Predictor of Poor Clinical Outcome in Non-Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Front. Oncol., 28 July 2020. Link​

  • ​Daniel Barr,Danny Chan,Susan Garfinkel,Zoë Hammatt,Iekuni Ichikawa,Michael Kalichman,El-Nasir Lalani,In Jae Lee,Frederick Leung,Eric Mah,Tony Mayer,Prasit Palittapongarnpim,Theresa Sawicka,Mai Har Sham,Surendra Shastri,Ping Sun,Paul Taylor&Ovid Tzeng.​First meeting in Asia of the Asia Pacific Research Integrity network.Pages 99-106 | Published online: 14 Jan 2020.​ Link​​​
  • ​​Afsar Ali Mian and Usva Zafar and Oliver Ottmann and Martin Ruthardt and El-Nasir M A Lalani.Activation of AKT/mTOR Pathway in Ph+ Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) Leads to Non-Mutational Resistance.Blood (2019) 134 (Supplement_1): 2570.Link

  • ​Usva Zafar and Mohammed Yusuf and Rikhia Chakraborty and El-Nasir M A Lalani and Afsar Ali Mian.The ''Gatekeeper'' Mutation T315I in BCR/ABL Confers Additional Oncogenic Activities to Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Leukemia.Blood (2019) 134 (Supplement_1): 5196.​Link​

  • Rajput S and Minhas K and Azam I and Shaikh U and Hussain A and Lalani EN.LMP1 expression in bone marrow trephines of patients with multiple myeloma confers a survival advantage.Leukemia & Lymphoma, 26 Mar 2019, 60(8):1991-2001. Link​

  • Afsar Ali Mian and Usva Zafar and Oliver Ottmann and Martin Ruthardt and El-Nasir M A Lalani. Establishment and Characterization of a Myeloma Cell Line- Aku-MY01.Blood (2019) 134 (Supplement_1): 2570. Link​

  • Riaz N, Idrees R, Habib S, Azam I, Lalani E-N. Expression of Androgen Receptor and Cancer Stem Cell Markers (CD44+/CD24- and ALDH+): Prognostic Implications in Invasive Breast Cancer. Translational Oncology. 2018;11(4): 920-929. Link

  • Ibrahim S, Siddiqui AA, Siddiqui AR, Ahmed W, Moss PAH and Lalani EM (2016). Sociodemographic factors associated with IgG and IgM seroprevalence for human cytomegalovirus infection in adult populations of Pakistan: a seroprevalence survey.BMC Public Health.2016;16:1112. Link   

  • Sultana A, Idress R, Naqvi ZA, Azam I, Khan S, Siddiqui AA and Lalani EM (2014). Expression of the androgen receptor, pAkt, and pPTEN in breast cancer and their potential in prognostication. Translational Oncology. 2014;7(3):355-362. Link 

  • Romanska H, Salagierski M, Bruton R, Abel P, Sosnowski M and Lalani EM (2010). Doxazosin induces apoptosis in PTEN–positive androgen-independent PC cells via inhibition of A kt activation. Central European Journal of Urology. 2010; 63(2):91-97. Link

  • Romanska H, Tiziani S, Howe RC, Günther UL, Gulzar Z and Lalani EM (2009). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Detects Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase/Akt-Independent Traits Common to Pluripotent Murine Embryonic Stem Cells and Their Malignant Counterparts. Neoplasia. 2009;11(12):1301–1308. Link

  • Sadej R, Romanska H, Baldwin G, Gkirtzimanaki K, Novitskaya V, Filer AD, Krcova Z, Kusinska R, Ehrmann J, Buckley CD, Kordek R, Potemski P, Eliopoulos AG, Lalani EN and Berditchevski F. CD151 regulates tumorigenesis by modulating the communication between tumor cells and endothelium. Mol Cancer Res. 2009;7(6):787-98. Link

  • El-Sheikh SS, Romanska R, Domin J, Abel P and Lalani EN. Predictive value of PTEN and AR coexpression of sustained responsiveness to hormonal therapy in prostate cancer--a pilot study. Neoplasia. 2008 Sep; 10(9):949-53. Link


Research Team

Dr Nazia Riaz

Assistant Professor – Currently Visiting Fellow at University of British Columbia, Canada​

Dr Nazia Riaz is an assistant professor and breast surgeon in the Department of Surgery at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi Campus. She is passionate about linking clinical medicine with basic and translational science and recently completed her PhD under the supervision of Professor El-Nasir M A Lalani. 

Her clinical experience spans over ten years, where she has been engaged in developing comprehensive care plans and conducting surgeries through a multidisciplinary approach for patients with early and advanced breast cancers. 

Dr Riaz was a recipient of the Aga Khan University- Faculty of Health Science​s PhD Scholarship, where her PhD project was focused on understanding the functional role of androgen receptor and its association with cancer stem cell markers in Pakistani patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Dr Riaz's research is focused on investigating the role of androgen receptor in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Further, Dr Riaz has developed, characterized a unique metaplastic carcinoma cell line derived from a Pakistani patient. She is currently on sabbatical doing a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor Torsten Nielsen at University of British Columbia. ​

Dr Sheerien Rajput​

Post Doctoral Fellow  

Dr Sheerien Rajput is a summa cum laude MSc graduate from the Department of Genetics, University of Karachi, and qualified for the award of Zaidi Abid Gold Medal for getting a first-class first position. She also received the Karachi Cotton Association Gold Medal Award for securing the highest scores in the subject of plant breeding. After completion of her Masters, she continued as a research student in the same department and served as a co-operative teacher for six months. 

Dr Rajput completed her PhD from the Aga Khan University under the supervision of Professor El-Nasir M A Lalani and continued with the same group at CRM as a Post Doctoral Fellow. Her PhD project was focused on investigating the potential role and crosstalk between MUC1 and XBP1 in cancer with a particular interest in multiple myeloma using in-vitro cell line models and patient samples. During her research work, she has developed and characterized a unique myeloma cell line which was derived from a Pakistani patient. She undertook the single largest IHC study on patients diagnosed with MM from a single institute in Pakistan. Dr. Rajput has presented her work at different national and international conferences. 

​​​Syed Mustafa Jamal.jpg

Syed Mustafa Jamal

Research Associate

Syed Mustafa Jamal received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology in 2015 and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida as a Fulbright scholar in 2018. He has joined the Centre for Regenerative Medicine as a Research Associate in Prof. Dr El Nasir Lalani's team. Mustafa has previously worked on neural regeneration and has experience in biomaterial fabrication, tissue engineering, electrical stimulation, and computational modeling approaches. Here at AKU-CRM, Mustafa is interested in leveraging his skills into developing artificial tissues and organs models by harnessing the power of 3D bioprinting for regeneration.  ​